THE 7 SUMMITS
The 7 Summits are the highest mountains on each of the 7 continents. Each mountain presents with its own unique terrain, weather systems and challenges. What they all have in common is a decreasing amount of oxygen available at high altitude which makes every breath laborious and every step a challenge. A successful summit of each mountain takes training, dedication, perseverance and guts.
Mount Kilimanjaro - 5,895m (19,341ft)
Completed: Jan 2010
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the continent of Africa. The expedition, spanning over 8 days, saw us climbing through 4 different climates (the cloud forest, the moorland, the alpine desert and the arctic tundra) on our way towards the summit.
Mount Elbrus - 5,642m (18,510ft)
Caucasus Mountain Range, Russia
Completed: Jul 2010
Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe. While politically, Mount Elbrus is located in Russia, geographically, the Caucasus mountain range is part of Europe, making Elbrus the highest on the continent. At high altitude, the majority of the mountain is covered with snow year round, which made it a more challenging climb than my first mountain, Kilimanjaro.
Denali - 6,168m (20,237ft)
Completed: June 2012
Denali is the highest mountain in North America and was a real challenge. The summit success rate in 2012 was 41% and included 6 deaths. For nearly 3 weeks on the glacier, our team of 3 battled blizzards, -30C cold and difficult terrain on our way up to the summit.
Aconcagua - 6,960m (22,837ft)
Completed: Dec 2012
Aconcagua is hte highest mountain in South America and the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. Being an extremely tall mountain, the lack of oxygen present in the air at high altitude was easily apparent. I, myself, was fighting mind numbing headaches all the way up the mountain and half our expedition didn't make it to the summit. One member had to be helicoptered out of the area due to deadly pulmonary edema (lungs filling with fluid). Luckily he got help and recovered ok.
Carstensz Pyramid - 4,884m (16,024ft)
Completed: Jul 2013
Don't let the altitude fool you. The Carstensz Pyramid is the highest mountain in Oceania and the most technically demanding (climbing wise) of the 7 summits. It also features the most difficult approach towards the summit, as it is all through remote dense jungle. I often found myself soaking wet in knee deep mud. Add in local tribal issues and you have a recipe for disaster. Luckily, after over 2 weeks in the jungle I got out without injury.
Vinson Massif - 4,892m (16,050ft)
Completed: Dec 2016
In one of the most inaccessible places in the world, the Vinson Massif is the highest mountain on the continent of Antarctica. Extremely remote, with very unpredictable weather and no chance of rescue, this mountain is very dangerous.
Mount Everest - 8,848 (29,029ft)
Completed: May 2019
The highest mountain on the continent of Asia and the world, this mountain needs no introduction. Taking approximately 2-3 months to climb, the expedition is planned for 2018. I'm hoping to be to do volunteer dentistry at base camp while I wait out the storms to help out the sherpas.